Mike Baxter, in as a pinch-hitter for Nic Crosta, laced a double into the right-center gap to leadoff the eighth and moved to third on a Ben Copeland error. Jose Lobaton plated him with a sacrifice fly, giving the Storm a 4-3 lead heading into the final frame.
Adam Witter answered back with a three-run shot in the top of the ninth to give San Jose a 6-4 lead. He crushed a 1-0 fastball over the right field wall off closer Jon Link – Link’s first blown save of the year in six opportunities.
Matt Antonelli gave the Storm hope in the bottom of the ninth. The second baseman doubled to leadoff the inning and came around on a David Freese one-out single.
Kyle Blanks then struck out after reaching base in his first four plate appearances. Chad Huffman singled through the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners, down a run, with one out remaining. Baxter dropped a single in front of a diving left fielder to tie the game at 6-6, saving Link from the loss and sending the game into extra innings.
San Jose took its third lead of the game in the tenth. A one out single off Kyle Stutes was followed by a double down the left field line, which was misplayed by Baxter, allowing the lead-taking run to score. Witter capped off the inning with a two-run double to give the Giants a three-run cushion.
“Especially for starting out on the bench,” Baxter said of how busy his game was. “That is just how it works and you get an opportunity to redeem yourself. Luckily, it came back around with some opportunities for me.”
Three runs weren’t enough. Lake Elsinore matched the feat with three of their own. After a Ramirez walk, Antonelli doubled him in. Freese tied the contest at 9-9 with a two-run bomb that landed in the upper deck of the Western Metal Supply building.
“Down the line. That is the place you can hit one,” Freese said of the no-doubter. “After playing here, it is a big park. I was fortunate enough to get one out. I hit a hanging slider. It felt real good, especially to tie it up.”
The game would be called at approximately 5:45 PM so the San Diego Padres could play their scheduled game at 7:00 PM.
“We had a lead and they came back and they got the lead twice and we came back twice,” manager Carlos Lezcano said. “To leave out of here with a tie and be the home team – I will take it.”
A first pitch triple off Brent Carter past a diving Chad Huffman near the 401-foot sign opened up the game. An outfield assist greeted a short lineout to Huffman from the second batter when he fired the ball to Jose Lobaton who tagged Antoan Richardson out with a mitt to the face, completing the double play.
Matt Antonelli took a 1-2 slider to open the Storm half of the first and launched the ball over the 396 sign in dead centerfield for a home run, his ninth.
“I was happy,” Antonelli said. “I got a 1-2 slider and he kind of hung it and I happened to put a good swing on it.”
Blanks took a similar 1-2 pitch and slammed a homer down the left field line that bounced off the façade below the first row of seats on the Western Metal Supply building.
“Curveball inside,” Blanks said of the pitch he went deep on. “That was what I was anticipating coming and I saw it up and got a really good swing on it. I had a pretty good idea it would go out.”
Pablo Sandoval halved the Storm lead in the top of the second inning. A leadoff walk from Carter was followed by two groundouts, one inching a runner to second, before Sandoval hammered a hanging curveball three-quarters up the left field wall, roughly 370-feet away from home plate. An infield single and a throwing error from Matt Antonelli knotted the game at 2-2.
“It was definitely great,” Carter, who allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings, said of pitching in PETCO. “The first inning was a lot of adrenaline. It seemed like the plate was right there in front of me. After that, I settled down and it was pretty much like just pitching again.”
Both teams traded bullets until the seventh. Sandoval led off with a homer over the 357 sign in left field to give the Giants a 3-2 edge.
Yordany Ramirez’ hustle led to the third Storm run and another tie game. After lacing a single up the middle and a failed sacrifice attempt by Antonelli, the centerfielder stole his second base of the game scored when Freese singled him in.
“We had put on a bunt with Antonelli and unfortunately he could not get the bunt down so the manager gave me a green light and you have to do what you have to do to get over,” said Ramirez. “I knew we needed that stolen base because we needed that run. It happened.”